Flying games were always the ones most hungry for peripherals. If you want to be a hardcore pilot, weaving in and out of dogfights with the best Cold War and later technology, you will not be satisfied by a mere joystick (and you will not even think of playing keyboard). Now, people who want to fly (usually in space) are holding their breath and listening to each utterance of VR market. Because if it‘s going to deliver one thing, it‘s flight sims.
EVE Online is touted as the best spreadsheet simulator and can be seen as the best space MMORPG of all time. CCP, the developers, are always looking for the way to expand the franchise – that‘s why console players had received the Dust 514 shooter. Meanwhile, we‘re getting EVE: Valkyrie. In this game, you‘re playing as a clone of a dead pilot, (a mundane occurrence in EVE) reliving memories of other dead pilots and engaging in multiplayer fights. EVE fans will enjoy the possibility to drive gnat-sized ships around and near the gargantuan capital ships of EVE‘s factions.
VR players are appreciative of the VR integration. You use your gaze to lock-on to the ships flying by and fire missiles. You look around to spot enemy by the long trails that they leave. And you watch your cockpit for the information on your ship‘s performance. Fortunately, you don‘t need a space pilot neural link to play it.
While Valkyrie is a somewhat arcade-y game, Elite: Dangerous is where you meet Newtonian physics. You also meet the rest of the galaxy as this online space ship game recreates the entirety of Milky Way. Sure, people are complaining of bounds of boredom as vacuum is the most prominent feature of both real and game space, but it all leads to exploration, blood-chilling encounters and even trade. The ships are cool, too, having sleek, fighter-like shapes instead of being hard sci-fi monstrosities.
VR support makes it all more fun. Now you can easily look around you cockpit in the middle of the fight. Some dials and menus are found to the side of your main viewport, so you will be that much frantic once your cockpit cracks and you find yourself looking for a station – any station – to warp to before you suffocate.
Warthunder, however, adds a dash of classic to the whole mix. It lets people ride planes from early World War II to early Cold War. The level of complexity ranges from fairly arcade to to somewhat scary realistic. This matters a lot to the people who build extensive and expensive control rigs to simulate the flying experience. VR plays into the fantasy even harder. The player can look around inside of the plane all they want, giving them great in-cockpit situational awareness, exceeded only by that of third person, out of plane camera (which is not allowed in simulation modes).
As reviewers show, VR simulation is responsive enough to allow for leaning out of the cockpit while you‘re on the ground and the canopy is open. In a world where flight (and other) simulators are stuck in a niche market dominated by super detailed yet really ugly games (the customer bases cares much more about setting the angle of propeller blades than graphical fidelity), Warthunder stands out as an easily accessible, free experience that nevertheless give all the realism a plane junkie could want.
Hover Junkers is an odd entry in that you do more hovering than flying. However, it‘s a title based entirely on VR and it places you in the shoes of some sci-fi post apocalyptic scavenger. The multiplayer matches pitch you in scavenge deathmatches against other players riding in hovering scrap rigs. You try to get close to the enemy and engage them with you handguns.
The idea isn‘t entirely original – and we have games about dirigible combat that are more in depth and complex – but it‘s novel enough to stand out and it‘s great fun for the VR crowd. It works well with Vive as you duck and dodge enemy fire, all the while shooting back with your trusty six shooters.
Anshar Wars 2
Now, Anshar Wars take us back into space and puts us in a space fighter. It‘s the second game in the series, and both of them run on mobile VR platforms. This game has a lot of variety, switching from space missions to ground attack runs on planets and even flying sections inside giant structures. All the great experiences of DarkStar One, minus the trading and Newtonian physics. In other words, it‘s totally awesome, and it‘s the most accessible flier of the bunch.
Running on a mobile VR platform, it shows the strengths of this medium. And since people are only getting more and more powerful smartphones, the market is only increasing. And you too can be a part of it! Just come up with a space flyer idea that wouldn‘t be too hard to handle for mobile VR. The tools are laid out for you. Game engines almost uniformly support VR as well as visual programing, and they‘re free! Unreal, Cryengine, Unity – all of them are at your fingertips. As for models, you can totally get away with buying and using stock 3D models – just take a look at CGTrader, one of the leading stock 3D model marketplaces, and you‘ll be set.
A little bit of effort, some elbow grease, and they‘ll be writing about your VR game in articles like this.